Liverpool v Brighton preview: Reds looking to secure Champions League football
Last Updated: 13/05/18 1:21pm
Liverpool are aiming to secure their spot in the top four when they host Brighton on the final day of the season, live on Sky Sports.
Some good form from Chelsea in recent weeks has put pressure on the Reds, but just a point on Sunday is likely guarantee their fourth-place finish and Champions League football next term with a far superior goal difference in their favour.
Jurgen Klopp is keen to direct all the focus on to Sunday's final match against Brighton, however, the awards season and pending Champions League final has become something of a distraction.
"You want to be really focused," he added. "The season now for most of the teams in the league is a nice time but for us it is work.
"All the awards around are really deserved but hopefully the last one was yesterday and now it is about playing the game on Sunday."
It has been a successful first season in the Premier League for Brighton, who have the magic 40 points on the board, and Chris Hughton says he is now looking to the summer to improve his squad further.
"We have a good squad and you always want to improve. We are a club who has to work within financial guidelines which work best for the club. We just want to continue to recruit well," he said. "Our next step always has to be to stay in the league - we're still learning and improving and we'll try to add to the squad where we feel necessary.
"We've tried to enjoy the season as much as we can. I have been able to enjoy it on the whole, apart from the first few weeks we haven't been in the bottom three. The last week is the best for me because this is where we wanted to be."
Adam Lallana could return to Liverpool's squad for the final match of the season.
The England midfielder has not played since the end of March because of a hamstring injury but has been in full training for a week and is set for a comeback.
Defender Joe Gomez is the latest player to be ruled out before the end of the season after undergoing ankle surgery this week.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton has no fresh selection concerns. Glenn Murray is pushing for a recall at Anfield after being left on the bench in favour of Leonardo Ulloa for the midweek defeat at Man City.
Record signing Jurgen Locadia and Israel international Beram Kayal are in contention for rare starts, but Steve Sidwell, who has not featured all season, remains sidelined through injury.
Liverpool have won five of their last six meetings with Brighton in all competitions (D1), netting 22 goals across these six games (3.7 per game).
The Reds are unbeaten in their last 21 home league games against promoted sides (W16 D5), since a 1-2 loss vs Blackpool in 2010-11.
If Liverpool avoid defeat, it will be the seventh time they've remained unbeaten at home across an entire top-flight campaign - more than any other side have done so.
No side has scored fewer away Premier League goals this season than Brighton (10, same as West Brom).
Lewis Dunk has scored an own goal in both of his previous meetings with Liverpool for Brighton - in a 6-1 defeat in the FA Cup in February 2012, and in the reverse fixture in December (5-1 defeat).
Mohamed Salah needs just one goal to set a new record for most Premier League goals in a 38-game season (currently 31). However, the Egyptian hasn't scored in two consecutive Premier League games for only the second time this season (also two in October).
Murray has been involved in a goal in all three of his Premier League meetings with Liverpool, scoring twice and assisting another.
I know they've got the Champions League final coming up but it's a couple of weeks away and they'll want to finish on a high and make sure they bag that top-four spot.
Brighton have been great - absolutely outstanding - but they'll be on the beach now surely.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0